Vote-by-mail test is proposed
King County should consider conducting elections entirely by mail, County Councilwomen Julia Patterson and Kathy Lambert said yesterday...
Seattle Times staff reporter
King County should consider conducting elections entirely by mail, County Councilwomen Julia Patterson and Kathy Lambert said yesterday.
Patterson, D-SeaTac, and Lambert, R-Woodinville, introduced a motion that would direct County Executive Ron Sims to choose "an appropriate" election to test a vote-by-mail election.
With some 70 percent of voters already casting permanent or one-time absentee ballots, Patterson said, "At some point it is reasonable for us to ask ourselves whether or not it makes sense to continue to administer two systems. What happens when only 10 percent of the voters are going to the poll?"
Patterson said she would expect the test election to be conducted in a nonpartisan special election.
Make provisional ballots distinguishable from regular poll ballots, so they won't be counted before a voter's eligibility is verified;
Report to the Metropolitan King County Council by July 1 on ways to verify that voters are U.S. citizens, live where they say they do, and are not felons whose voting rights have been withdrawn;
Develop a plan and request funding for adequate worker training; and
Prepare a plan to consolidate election operations under a single roof.
The two councilwomen also proposed that the County Council and Sims amend their state legislative agenda to support holding the primary election earlier.
Sims thanked Patterson and Lambert "for recognizing that we need thoughtful, reasonable improvements, not radical change in elections." County Elections Director Dean Logan said he was "delighted" with the proposals.
Logan said the county will test a new method of handling provisional ballots next Tuesday, when voters in Enumclaw and in the Auburn School District vote on levies. A removable label identifying a ballot as provisional will be put over the "timing marks" on a ballot, preventing the ballot from going through a counting machine.
County Councilman David Irons, R-Sammamish, meanwhile, has proposed a county-charter amendment that would put elections under the control of an elected auditor. The county's elections director is appointed by the county executive.
Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or email@example.com
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